Civil Engineers protect environment through massive training project

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Taylor Shelton
  • 92nd Air refueling Wing Public Affairs
More than 120 Airmen from the 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron spent the last two years building a new facility that controls sewer pumps for the U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resist and Escape school located here.

The pumps are used to move wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher one so the system can continue to be gravity fed.

“Without power to these pumps, the wastewater would collect at a low point and continue to pool and, eventually, overflow into the surrounding area,” said 1st Lt. Amanda Kennedy, pump house project manager. “Since the area near the pumps is a protected wetland, a pool of sewage could cause serious environmental hazards.”

The old facility and generator were installed in 1976, and pumps were replaced in 2011 to increase the sewage flow. After the initial upgrade, however, the generators were not powerful enough. Also, the electrical equipment was old, the configuration of the wiring was difficult to work with and some of the equipment was outside so it was susceptible to bad weather and animals, said Kennedy.

“Because of the high in-rush current of the new pumps, we were not comfortable with the reliability of the generator in the event of a power outage,” said Kennedy. “Fortunately we had a larger generator in our inventory that we could use for the replacement.”

The new building is 16 feet by 20 feet and now encases all of the electrical wiring and generators, Kennedy said.

“This project not only showcased the capabilities of our entire shop, but it also demonstrated the type of craftsmanship we are able to produce,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Fick, 92nd CES NCO in charge of structures.

Military and civilian members from the eight different career fields that worked on this project normally don’t get the chance to use the type of skills like the ones they used on the pump house. The biggest challenge was the “cradle to grave” aspect, from designing the layout, to laying concrete and even fabricating roof panels, Kennedy said.

“The fact that we did this all totally in-house was the truly unique part. We make sure things work all the time, but building it from scratch is pretty big for us as a squadron,” said Kennedy.

Being able to do this type of training project is a great accomplishment for not only the squadron, but for every member included, said Fick.

“I haven’t seen another project that has implemented every portion of our job,” said Fick. “It was an honor to be a part of something this big.”